At a remarkably young age, Claire Aggarwal has already set up and runs her own successful business. And believe it or not, she’s quietly revolutionising the beauty industry. Catering to time-poor women looking for a little indulgence, Perfect 10 provides ’boutique’ mobile beauty services – all instantly bookable online. Fancy a quick pre-holiday wax, a luxurious massage or a slick file and paint? Gone are the days when you had to trek to a salon and wait – or worse find a time when an appointment was available; Claire’s therapists travel to your home. We found out more about the woman behind the business…
How did you set up your business?
I studied Business at Nottingham University, and graduated with a 2:1 before going on to do a beauty course and then working at Elemis in London’s Mayfair. After that I knuckled down and spent a long time writing business plan after business plan; they were all beauty-focused but none seemed quite right. I was doing a little mobile beauty work for myself at the time – just to ensure I retained my knowledge of the industry having spent so long learning. One of my clients – the publisher of House and Garden, Kate Slesinger – suggested I should set up a mobile beauty company, and forget the other business plans I had.
I thought she was mad, viewing mobile beauty as a sector that was anything but slick. Kate helped me realise that there was definitely a gap in the market for a modern, forward-thinking company delivering high end at-home beauty services. At Perfect 10, all therapists are fully employed by the company, rather than operating independently. This means that they don’t work for anyone else, and ensures that I can invest time and money into their training and equipment.
All of the therapists drive branded Perfect 10 minis, wear our uniforms and carry our bags. They’re equipped with their latest tools – think comfortable massage beds, heated blankets and iPads to play relaxing music. It’s high end service – with an accessible price tag, which means that we have a lot of regular clients.
Who helped you out along the way?
Kate Slesinger, of course. And BeautyMart’s Milie Kendal. They have both been on hand to offer the most wonderful and constructive advice.
Any tips for would-be entrepreneurs?
Get a normal job! No, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Just be prepared work non-stop – and spend a lot of time thinking about work. Getting used to never switching off has been the hardest thing.
Are things really that much more difficult for women in business?
I think that in someways it is easier. Perhaps that’s because I’m working in beauty, but I never find it difficult – or have noticed a difference. Maybe that will change once things like family or children become more important for me.
What qualities are needed to succeed as an entrepreneur?
You really have to love your idea or product. The ability to troubleshoot is essential – and sometimes you’ll need to pretend, especially when you’re doing things for the first time. And you need to know how to learn from your mistakes too.
There’s a recession on. Are women still willing to pay for beauty services?
Without a doubt. Women seem to be starting to feel it is a necessity to be groomed – and especially those in business.
Beauty advice you swear by?
Cleanse, tone and moisturise twice a day, exfoliate twice a week, and use a mask once a week! I also try to drink lots of water. Sometimes I find wine gets in the way, but at least I try…
What do your family and friends think about your business?
Who doesn’t want free beauty treatments?
Who inspires you?
Richard Branson. I love how he turns every single company around, and creates a real brand.
What’s next for you – and for Perfect 10?
Expanding beyond London and across the UK. We’re looking at Ibiza too!
And lastly – can you run in heels?
I can run in wedges, does that count?